Report by Eugene Moodubelle
Pictures by Anil Alva
Bellevision Media Network
Moodubelle, 08 September 2009: The long awaited feast of the birthday of Mother Mary (Monthi-Festh) was celebrated with great devotion and fervour by the parishioners of Moodubelle on Tuesday 8th September 2009. The respite from rain and an atmosphere of bright sunshine made the celebration of the feast much more lively and colourful.
Children and elders in their fine dress began to trickle in the church from 8 AM. As during the last nine days, children carried flowers with them to be offered to Mother Mary on her feast day. At 8.30 AM people proceeded to the Cross Hill in procession through the inner road. Elders were followed by children carrying flowers, altar boys, Ward Coordinators (Gurkars) and Parish Pastoral Council office bearers and members carrying bundles of new paddy (novem) and the priests.
On the top of the Cross, the Parish Priest Fr. Joswey Fernandes offered prayers thanking Almighty God for the gift of the new crop and blessed the new paddy. After the blessing of the new paddy, people came back to the church in procession through the main road entering the church compound through the main gate. On the way devotional hymns devoted to Mother Mary were sung and children showered flowers.
The feast mass was concelebrated by Fr. Joswey Fernandes as main celebrant and Fr. Arun Mendonca and Fr. Naveen Pinto assisting him. Delivering the homily, Fr. Naveen Pinto explained the meaning of the Monthi-Festh as the feast of the birthday of Mother Mary, the harvest festival, the family feast and the day of the girl child.
The melodious hymns sung by the well trained choir led by Fr. Paul Sequeira during the Holy Mass raised the spiritual and devotional fervour of the festive occasion.
Following the end of the Holy Mass, Fr. Joswey Fernandes conveyed the greetings of the Monthi-Festh to all parishioner and al their relatives who are abroad. He expressed thanks to Mr. Charles Martis of St. Francis Second Ward for supplying new paddy to the church and Mr. Jerald Fernandes of Mother Theresa Ward for sponsoring the sugar cane to be distributed to the children who had brought flowers during the novena days. He also thanked all the parishioners who had sponsored sweets for the children during the novena.
The blessed new paddy was distributed to the parishioners at their seats by the Parish Pastoral Council members and Gurkars in a most disciplined manner within a short period of time. The children waited in long queues to receive the sugar cane outside the church. The entire programme of the celebration of the Monthi-Festh along with the Holy Mass ended at 10.30 AM.
After the Holy Mass, people have proceeded to their respective homes carrying the blessed new paddy. They will take the paddy inside the house by lighting candles and placing it at decorated altar. Before the vegetarian lunch they will take out the kernel and mix it with sweet preparation and consume it thanking Almighty God for the gift of new harvest.
As the families celebrate the Monthi-Festh, they will miss their near and dear ones who are abroad. However, while praying for their good health and happiness the entire family would be one in bond of love and unity.